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July 2021 Exhibit

July 2021 Exhibit
Mysterium
The Paintings of Bethany Rowland
 
The incredibly talented Bethany Rowland returns to Imogen Gallery for her fifth solo exhibition with her latest series of acrylic paintings, Mysterium. The exhibition opens during Astoria’s Second Saturday Artwalk, Saturday July 10 from noon – 8 pm. Rowland, known for her soulful paintings, once again delivers another deep and powerful series. In times of turmoil, Rowland has always looked to the natural world to find order. Within this collection she cultivates and shares contemplative peace and utilizing imagery of wildlife she offers suggestion of acceptance for the unknown. Believing in the sacredness of mystery, through her painting Rowland works “to gain an understanding of the unseen, to understand through other ways of knowing, through observation, listening and being attentive to process.” Her paintings fuse the undefined element of abstraction while gently leading into hints of realism, ultimately portraying an undeniable sense of order.

For many artists, landscape becomes muse. This holds true for Rowland who deems land and its inhabitants as spiritual guides. Her painting has always explored that side of nature and even more so with the unknowns and questions that have arisen after the past year and a half. While creating this body of work during a pandemic, Rowland found herself contemplating what could her painting convey? What could her visual metaphor offer? While she knew she did not hold answers, her painting process evolved into the acceptance of what is beyond control. Rowland considered the following passage taken from the book Arctic Dreams (page 228) by renowned writer Barry Lopez. With Lopez’ words in mind she set the tone of this series:
 
“Our obligation toward [the land] then becomes simple: to approach it with an uncalculating mind, with an attitude of regard. To try to sense the range and variety of its expression – its weather and colors and animals. To intend from the beginning to preserve some of the mystery within it as a kind of wisdom to be experienced, not questioned. And to be alert for its openings, for that moment when something sacred reveals itself within the mundane, and you know the land knows you are there.” -Barry Lopez
 
Rowland, a keen observer to nature, allowed this series to direct itself. She paints in a dreamlike manner allowing wildlife to emerge from a dark and mysterious background. In one such painting, a lone deer breaks through a shroud, looking directly into the viewer without fear, its eyes intent on providing understanding and acceptance. With subtle nuance of brush stroke she crafts composition lending to the mysticism of landscape and animals she honors. About this series she states:
 
“This exhibition’s title comes from remnants of childhood memories, and is connected to who I am now, someone who believes in sacred mysteries. These mysteries aren’t taught.  They are, as Lopez suggests, “a kind of wisdom to be experienced”. I believe that making or viewing a work of art can change us for the better by touching what we feel but don’t fully understand, which leads to connection, empathy and hope. I don’t have to know, for example, why I was moved to paint a fox in the middle of a stormy sea. What you see in this group of paintings is how we – those intermediaries and I – managed to work it out, which may be one way to help the land know we are there. It has helped me. There is more darkness and uncertainty. It might be an opening for the sacred.”
 
Rowland who has been painting for nearly 25 years handles her medium, style, and subject matter with unabashed confidence, carefully cultivating imagery that is a beautiful and evocative marriage of representation and abstraction. Combining quiet corners of complex layers of sheer color with definitive mark and gesture, she conveys emotion: a hint of melancholy, comfort, and acceptance within each composition. She readily cites such artists as Phil Sylvester of The Drawing Studio in Portland as well as others including Andrea Schwartz-Feit, William Park, and the late Royal Nebeker for giving her the courage to trust her own intuition in her practice. She understands form and allows herself freedom to explore the nuance of posture through the discipline of painting the human figure. Her figurative work has been juried into Clatsop Community College’s annual Au Naturel:  The Nude In The 21st Century, for multiple exhibitions throughout its history. Her work is regularly included in the annual Sitka Art Invitational as well as the juried annual Cascade Aids Project art auction.

June 2021 Exhibit

June 2021 Exhibit
Out on A Limb
Stan Peterson
We are excited to welcome back Stan Peterson for his second solo exhibition at Imogen. Included to the show will be his delightful wood sculpture, both wall hung and freestanding as well as paintings and prints. Considering his own love of winged creatures, Stan brings a beautiful new series devoted to our feathered friends. Known for his sly sense of humor and playfulness, this series provides a bit of a soulful look to birds acting as spiritual guides and/or companions while some pieces appear as totems to the grace and beauty of avians. Join us for artwalk June 12, 12 – 8 pm. Stan will be present and available to answer questions about his work 4 – 7 pm. The exhibition will remain on view through July 5.

Stan Peterson who delights in storytelling has created yet another fantastical body of work. As an avid lover of birds (he calls his studio The Laughing Woodpecker) he depicts both in 2 and 3 dimensional formats some of his favorite winged creatures. Downy Woodpeckers busy at work chiseling away for grubs along with Kingfisher’s offering guidance in navigating life’s twists and turns are just an example of the stories waiting to be told.

Peterson, a self-taught artist has been exhibiting his narrative and figurative sculpture for nearly four decades, utilizing animal form as a vehicle to explore human interaction and connection. As a retired postal carrier, walking is something he has always enjoyed, whether it be the city streets or remote beaches; long sidewalks give way to stretches of beach where he can observe his feathered friends and where his source of inspiration begins. These elements give him the time and space for introspection of daily experience and random encounters that quite often become center stage to his finished work. About this exhibition he states;
 
Flight is often on my mind. I’m walking down a path, small birds, probably  sparrows, are scattered ahead pecking at the ground. As I get closer, they hop and scuttle a few feet further. We continue until, too close, they fly off in different directions.

If walking softly early or at dusk, a rabbit might appear, grazing on verdant growth. I stop, rabbit freezes other than chewing, watching with one large eye. I blink, and see the tip of the tail disappear into the side brush. Senses are now on full alert. Is that sound a woodpecker chiseling into deep wood for grubs? Now I’m taking the rabbit stance, freeze, listen, look. Often it’s a Downey. If extremely fortunate, could be a Pileated with a mane of scarlet. I call my studio, “The Laughing Woodpecker”.  We both share compulsive behaviors with wood. I lace mine with sly humor.
 
Other times, walking by water maybe, just maybe, I’ll see a Kingfisher ever watchful, and then, the dive. It’s the accuracy of the dive which matters most. When carving the semblance of gestures, it is the skill with a knife, chisels, and hand saws that matter.
 
Sometimes I imagine walking with invisible lines connected to all the birds I see. If only, they could lift me off the ground. I rely on being in my art zone to do that.
 
Peterson has enjoyed a remarkable career as an artist, exhibiting his work from the west coast to as far away as New York and Paris with collectors all points in between. He has been a featured artist on the much loved OPB Art Beat program and written about in PDX Magazine. He has enjoyed several artist’s residencies over the years including award of an individual artist’s grant from the William T. Colville Foundation to travel to Bali for “Arts in Bali” where he worked with a traditional Balinese mask carver.
 

April and May 2021 Exhibit

April and May 2021 Exhibit
More Garden Studies
Deb Stoner

Imogen Gallery is honored to host a second solo exhibition for Portland artist Deb Stoner and her meticulous still life compositions. Join us for a socially distanced Second Saturday Artwalk, April 10th 12:00 – 7:00 pm to view More Garden Studies. Stoner, an accomplished photographer brings a new series of archival pigment prints, focusing on her love of gardening and the Dutch masters of still life painting. The exhibition will be on view through June 7th.

We welcome spring with a sense of optimism and renewal this year, perhaps more than ever. And with the entrance of spring we are also excited to welcome back Deb Stoner who brings the garden to us through her lush and spectacular photographic work. Stoner combines her skills as photographer, researcher and gardener along with meticulous sense of detail to create dramatic still life imagery. Reminiscent of the still life painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, she weaves a complex maze of texture and color within each composition. With a strong background in craft as a jeweler, scale and precision are always at the forefront of her work today. Her fine art prints are the culmination of a passion for growing plants, collecting insects, and choreographing the still life image. 

More Garden Studies, a continuation of Stoner’s garden series, she showcases her love of botanicals with large format prints that allow the viewer to immerse themselves in details not normally seen without careful scrutiny. With some images printed as large as 40” x 60”, insects larger than life reveal themselves within her compositions, looking at home in their artist made world. Incredible detail in a vast array of plant varieties included to each print, Stoner’s work is easily a horticulturist’s dream come true. She carefully cultivates each detail of her compositions with the delicate nuance of curl on a petal, or the subtle shift of hue within a blossoming rose. The juxtaposition of the leather like skin of a pomegranate to the matte, velvety surface on the spring growth of fiddle head fern, all provide the allure of indescribable texture and dimension that leaps from the flat surface of rag paper, each image is printed to.
Stoner is an artist who is constantly challenging herself to create and reveal the unexpected. Her photographic process is not the atypical point and shoot format with a hand held camera and lens doing the work, instead she creates each high resolution imagery on her scanner, literally building her compositions on the scanner bed to capture as much detail as possible.
About her work she states:

         When I make a still life composition, my sole intention is to make a beautiful photograph. My method involves the wow of showing details of flora and tiny fauna, in formal compositions, using the secret weapons of large scale, high resolution, and fantastic color, or in the case of my black and white work, excellent tonal range, to ensure that the viewer stops in her tracks. Years ago, attempting to make digital negatives for wet plate collodion work, I learned to use a scanner, and almost at once, my interest in photography took another of many shifts, this time to working within the limitations of size, lighting and gravity that substituting a scanner for a camera requires. I gather flowers, mount insects to play tiny actors, and arrange them on the horizontal surface of the scanner, like a reverse painting on glass, upside down and backwards. When seen as a full-scale piece, of up to 48”x68”, my work brings the viewer a view of a world that is composed of natural objects that seem almost imaginary. My compositions are informed by life-long study of art history, but unlike the work of still life Dutch Masters or French floral painters, there are no secrets to be revealed by a knowledge of symbols I might use, no skulls or stopped clocks, no embedded messages that reveal my inner most psyche. Insects, beetles, and bees are there because they’re beautiful, messy, and rather exciting.

Deb Stoner holds an MFA in Applied Design from SDSU, a BS in Geology from UC Davis, and a decades long teaching career at the former Oregon College of Art and Craft. Recently she presented lectures on photography to the Yuma Symposium, the Portland Art Museum, and the SPE NW Regional Conference. She has also had solo shows in 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as numerous group and solo exhibitions. Her work was also selected from an international call for artists in 2019 to do a building wrap of the Palos Verdes Art Center in Los Angeles. Her botanical work enshrined the art center throughout 2020.  Stoner has juried purchases in the permanent public art collections at University of Oregon, OHSU, PCC, and Portland International Airport; is the recipient of grants and a recent residency, and sells work to enthusiastic collectors around the world.
 

March 2021 Exhibit

March 2021 Exhibit
Twists & Turns / Making Our Maps

Paintings by Jody Katopothis

We are pleased to be welcoming back the sublime work of artist Jody Katopothis who brings a new collection of acrylic paintings. Through exquisitely subtle use of color and texture, she brings forth layers of history, excavating surface to build a story of life. Over time civilizations have evolved, leaving traces of history through culture or physical relic, much like the path or trajectory of one’s own life. Through painting she creates a narrative tapestry of the twists and turns of life. Culture, past and future are reflected while navigating unforeseen changes of course that become etched in memory, shaping our vision of self. The exhibition will be on display through April 5th.

Within this series of paintings, Katopothis builds muted shrouds of color as overlay to subtle nuance of past history, creating luminescent narrations. She looks to nature's organic beauty and the occupation and organization of nature by our human relationships to the environment, to illustrate an "archaeology" of the human experience. When considering the content of this series, Katopothis reflected on the challenges of life itself. During this time when the entire global population has experienced a changed perception of life, through painting she considers the process of growth while moving through the trials and tribulations beyond one’s control. This series brings reflection from where we’ve come as a society to marking the path of time marching forward.

About this series she states: “Other than the measuring of time by minutes and hours, and of our days on the calendar, our lives do not move in a linear fashion. The path is made up of many twists and turns. One step up and two steps back. The expected and the unexpected. Cycles repeating, ups and downs. The dance moves to and fro. This plays out not just within a single life, but in the whole human experience throughout time. There is an unpredictable meandering that shapes the course. We can see evidence of this through ancient civilizations who lived and created with knowledge and tools we still don't fully understand. Progress, skills, insights, mastery, developing and then disappearing over millennia. How do we make sense of this unpredictable trajectory in our own lives? How do we weave it all together, to create a more clear and consistent picture? Opportunity comes with moments that stick, leaving their indelible marks on us, and then turning to memories for safekeeping. With this process, we create an inner roadmap of our lives. Made up of these uniquely personal anchors, we bind ourselves to them, so that we might feel safer in the unpredictable movements. So we can hold on. The main body of work in this exhibition, is inspired by such memories, those anchors that help keep us from feeling lost at sea, even as they allow us room to ride out the storms, or rock and sway upon peaceful waters.”
 
Jody Katopothis has always been an artist who follows her passions.  Being successful in dual careers, as painter and musician, she finds one nurtures the other, and like her paintings become a woven metaphor dedicated to a connection to the human spirit. Her own exploration of both music and visual art have taken her far, including several years living abroad and studies in Europe, primarily in Wales.   She has exhibited her work internationally resulting in awards, such as First Place for “Best Work in all Shows” at the Fishguard Arts Festival, UK and an Award of Excellence from Contemporary Abstracts at the Alameda Art Center in California.  She has also been featured on OPB’s ArtBeat program, her paintings have been selected twice for use as wine labels to Paro Wines of Sonoma, as well as being published in Sunset Magazine. 
 

Februrary 2021 Exhibit

Februrary 2021 Exhibit
Rain
Paintings by George Wilson
We are excited to welcome back George Wilson, a painter of the ethereal. Wilson who comes from a generational fishing family in Scotland now resides in Portland. His love of water is ever present in soothing and dreamlike watercolor paintings and for this series Wilson continues in true fashion of a pluviophile, focusing on his love of rain. The exhibition Rain opens Saturday, February 13 from 12:00 – 7:00 pm and will remain on display through March 8.

For George Wilson, waterways are essential to life. Born into a fishing family in a small coastal Scottish village, he was brought up on and around Moray Firth, an inlet of the North Sea. Wilson’s relationship to water has always been a part of his existence, as well as a source of livelihood. His work is infused with his experiences as a fisherman, the beauty of solitude and sometimes the ominous feel of heavy skies approaching. His profound connection has culminated in an enchanting series of paintings that serve as visual poetry to places he has known, reflecting shoreline and its ever changing edges as weather fronts work to shape and define.  

For this series he brings serene atmospheric landscapes depicting the freshness of morning’s first rain, the air crisp and clean as heavy clouds let go of their burden. The saturation of pigment on paper gently pools, emulating the look of a recent downpour over the river or on the surrounding hillsides. As a fisherman, Wilson’s work is always framed by the importance of where land and sky meet. He shares with the viewer his love of landscape with dreamlike renditions of places that resonate with a deep and rooted sense of nostalgia. About this series he reflects, “I love to see the rain change the world around me. Rain approaches: Dark clouds slowly obscure the horizon, envelop the landscape, soften the outlines of the hills. Rain falls: A downpour hisses on the surface of the water, turns the pilings on the river into black, staccato notes within a symphony of grey. Rain subsides: Reveals slowly–shafts of sunlight, glistening jewel-like drops hang from low branches. I love the rain: The smirr, the smaa saft rain, the dreich, dark days, the deluge. And after the deluge, huge delight in a refreshed landscape and the sight of the receding storm. These studies of the rain calm my spirit and help me hold on to beauty as we live through this collective storm. May it soon pass.”
 
Wilson who has painted as long as he’s fished, eventually found himself entering the academic world with studies at Gray’s School of Art, one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious art schools located in Aberdeen, Scotland.  After graduating with a focus on painting and drawing, he found his way back to the sea where his time was shared between fishing trips and the studio.  His work is a beautiful balance of both worlds with one love always merging with the other.